Are you ready to make stunning videos by flying a drone? Today, it is far beyond what most people can imagine. If you already have an experience in filmmaking, then a drone equipped with an HD camera is going to be a great novelty to your existing filming arsenal. It is ideal for professional filmmakers, but also for everyone else who want to get into a new hobby.
There is a wide range of models on the market, so you should find out what is the best drone for filming before purchasing your next piece of equipment.
Many today’s drones come with GPS stabilization and a built-in camera so that they are quite easy to control and don’t require too many special skills. When buying a drone for this purpose, your budget will stay against the quality of your videos as professional drones allow you to add various digital video accessories and make the high-quality films, but they are quite expensive.
Top 5 drones for aerial filming
Based on the drone features and customers’ reviews, we put together a list of the top 5 best drones for aerial filming. The order is not important.
#1: DJI T600 Inspire 4K Quadcopter – The First Drone for 4K Filming
This is a ready-to-fly drone that is designed to fly wherever and whenever you need to record an event. It is ideal for making an aerial film, and if you want to enjoy a live 720p HD view, all you need to do is to add an appropriate mobile device (e.g. a smartphone or tablet) and install the required app.
Inspire 4K has a smooth, lightweight aerodynamic body, which includes flight controller, 3-axis gimbal, 4K camera, powerful motors, and large props. This flexible and stable quadcopter allows for dual control and has a good maneuverability while flying.
In fact, this is a professional camera quadcopter, which can provide a very stable platform for the high-quality aerial films, thanks to its great flight capabilities and an advanced Optical Flow system. It comes with a built-in camera, which is capable of recording the 4K films at 24 to 30fps, or 24 to 60 fps at 1080p.
Even better, it is also capable of rotating 360 degrees, which means you will be able to record the surroundings independently of the drone’s flight path. Aside from the videos, you can also use this drone to capture 12-megapixel photos. By the way, the gimbal system and camera are detachable.
To fly, it requires a Lithium Metal battery. Thanks to the latest Lightbridge technology, it can transmit videos and photos at a distance of 2km. A smart management system for the battery life notifies you at any moment how long your drone can stay in the air. Maximum ceiling height is about 1600 feet while the flight time is from 15 to 20 minutes. Product dimensions are 20 x 15 x 15 inches, and it weighs 15 pounds. If you want to find out much more about this amazing model, check out our DJI Inspire 1 in-depth review.
If you interested you can check its price here.
#2: DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter – For 4K ultra HD films
Amongst others, this ingenious DJI’s drone features new functions, such as an improved obstacle/collision avoidance system as well as the automatic subject tracking. Also, it comes with a 4K camera, Lightbridge video transmission, better optics, and a brand new intelligent battery. All these make this quadcopter perfect for the aerial filming.
DJI Phantom 4 has the typical design of DJI quadcopters, with aerodynamic lines which make it elegant while flying. Its frame is very lightweight, but it doesn’t reduce the stability of this drone. There is a lot of great features, including Obstacle Sensing system, Tap to Fly feature, Active Track system for the automatically tracking, Multiple Flight modes (e.g. Sport, Return To Home and Vision Position mode), and an advanced GPS technology. As for the camera, it can capture 4K HD videos at 30fps as well as the 12.0MP (4000 x 3000) photos.
There is also an HD 1080p slow motion at 120fps, which is very useful for the special effects in filming. Moreover, it comes with video editor software, allowing you to add text, music, and other things to your videos. No doubt, this is one of the best drones for the aerial cinematography today!
The item’s weight is only 8.8 pounds whilst the size is 15 x 8.7 x 12.8 inches. As you might assume, this aircraft requires one Lithium Polymer battery to work. The flight time is 28 minutes with a fully charged battery, and the maximum speed is 20 m/s (72 km/h). Control range is up to 5km. For a better insight in what this model has to offer, we suggest checking out our DJI Phantom 4 detailed review.
If you interested you can check the current deal for it on Amazon.
#3: DJI Spreading Wings S900 – Professional hexacopter for HD videos
Here’s another great DJI drone that is ideal for the professional aerial cinematographers and photographers, but this time, it is a hexacopter – the DJI S1000’s successor. What makes this model appealing for the film makers is its sturdy body which enables a good stability and strength. Actually, its landing gear and arms are made of solid carbon fiber. This unmanned hexacopter is quick to set up and can be ready to fly within a couple of minutes. In addition, it is very lightweight and hence easy to carry. For more information on this model, also read our DJI Spreading Wings S900 in-depth review.
DJI Spreading Wings S900 features an improved power distribution system, detachable upper center board (compatible with the A2 and DJI WKM flight controller), and spark proof plug which prevents short circuits. Pay attention that this model doesn’t include a camera in its composition, but its brushless gimbal can carry different 4K cameras. Thanks to the low gimbal mounting system and retractable landing gear, it is capable of shooting in a broad range of angles.
Based on experience and customers reviews, this hexacopter can give up to 18 min of flight time. It only weighs 3.3 pounds and has an overall size of 18.1 x 14.2 x 17.7 inches, which makes it very portable and quite easy to transport wherever you go.
If you interested you can buy it on Amazon.
#4: 3DR SOLO Drone Quadcopter – Designed For The 4k Action Cameras
The 3DR Solo is surely one of the best-rated quadcopters for filming you can buy these days on the market. This amazing drone doesn’t contain a built-in camera, which gives you the freedom to connect an action camera according to your own needs.
Its gimbal supports 4k action cameras, such as GoPro and the similar cameras, however, when the 8K actions cameras hit the market, this drone will also be able to carry them and you will not have to upgrade it. This means the 3DR Solo will be popular for many years. Actually, it’s considered to be highly expandable and unlimited when it comes to the upgrades.
It is the first intelligent drone with its own ‘brain’. This smart drone is powered by twin computers (integrated Linux computers, each one of 1 GHz), and it offers a lot of advanced features, such as computer-assisted Smart Shots and pushbutton flight amongst others. In addition, it includes other new technologies related to both support and safety features. To find out more about what this model has to offer, read our 3DR Solo review.
This all-in-one aircraft comes with a wireless HD video streaming, so you can connect its GoPro directly to your mobile device (iOS or Android), and enjoy a vivid live streaming at a distance of up to half a mile from the drone. Video latency is about 180 minutes. All of this makes it ideal for filming, but anyone can use it to get the professional aerial videos.
Flight time is quite good, up to 25 minutes, which is better than most today’s drones. The overall item weight is 8 pounds – with camera and gimbal. As far as the size, the 3DR Solo quadcopter has 18.4 x 16 x 14.1 inches.
Like this great product? Then you can buy it on Amazon.
#5: Walkera QR X800 BNF – Professional Cinema Photography Quadcopter For HD Videos
Walkera QR X800 is a professional RC drone that is capable of carrying a variety of action cameras, such as the GoPro Hero 3, Walkera iLook, as well as a full-featured DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. Even better, you can make FPVs with the DEVO F12 controller all the time while using your GoPro hero camera.
This professional drone also features foldable frame design, 2 GPS multi axis flight platform, 5.86G FPV transmitting system, professional radio with 10 channels, powerful brushless motors, and retractable landing skids.
As for the design, this quad meets all the criteria. Its well-designed frame is very durable, as it is made from the glass fiber and 3K weave carbon. There are two retractable legs for the better stability while flying and smooth videos. If this sounds like a drone that needs to be investigated more, you can get additional information in our Walkera QR X800 review.
It weighs 17.9 pounds and measures 24.4 x 24.4 x 18.1 inches. By the way, it requires one nonstandard LiPo battery of 6000-12,000mAh and 22.2v. Flight range is incredibly high – up to 40 minutes of flight time and 2km control distance. Therefore, you can take more shots while flying it and make the spectacular scenes from the air as never before.
Like this product? Then you can check its price on Amazon.
Why there are drones for filming on the market?
Nowadays, drones are more than just great devices that can be used for actual applications. The latest models are modern, well-made and they have amazing features that make them more than useful for certain people.
The drones we mentioned above are specially designed for filming, so they are a bit different than ordinary drones. Keep in mind that these units are designed for professional applications, so they are more than just great if you are going to need an amazing camera and amazing flying capabilities.
In any case, these drones are based on the latest technology and they are treated as some of the most advanced drones on the market. However, this also means that they come at a price, so don’t try to save money, or you will end up with a bad and non-professional drone.
Here are a few basic differences between drones designed for filming and drones designed for hobbyists:
- Ordinary drones are designed for multiple applications, while drones for filming are designed for a specific application, so they have direct and a bit different features.
- Drones for filming have the best cameras on the market and they offer the best level of recording, simply due to the fact this is their main feature. Keep in mind that recording with a drone of this type will offer the best results and the videos will be perfect when played on a TV, smartphone or a computer. Most of these drones come with 4K cameras, so they are the best choice, simply because they offer the best quality of recordings.
- These units have longer flying time than ordinary drones, due to the fact this is mandatory for filmmaking and filming, simply because it allows to you that a drone stays in the air for a longer period of time. There is no a specific time, but in general, drones that offer more than 25 minutes of flying time are a great choice and they should be taken into account.
- Drones that are made for filming are made from lightweight, but durable materials, so they can be used for rough applications and they can withstand rough landings and minor damages. At the same time, this feature allows them to stay in the air for a longer time and they can fly when weather conditions are not very good. This is mandatory due to the fact it allows you to record videos when the weather is bad, or in rough situations.
Who should use these drones and for what purpose?
Keep in mind that these drones are designed for professionals, so they are treated as professional units. There is no point of buying a drone of this type if it is going to be used for ordinary applications, simply because they are expensive. The price cannot be generalized, but most of these units cost more than $400.
On the other side, these units are the perfect choice if you are a real fan of aerial photography and you like making amazing photos from the air. In this case, these units are the best and the only choice, due to the fact they have been developed especially for this application.
If you are a professional filmmaker, these drones are still the best choice and they should be taken into account. They can be used for making amazing videos and recordings no matter where and when you are using them. In any case, this is a great choice, simply due to the fact your videos are going to have the highest level of quality and they are going to be the best.
On the other side using ordinary drones for this application isn’t a great choice, you will end up with videos and photos that have a bad quality, so the end result will be disappointed.
The bottom line is simple, drones for filming should be used by people who are looking for advanced units of this type that are designed and made especially for filming from the air. By choosing a product of this type, you get the best way to make amazing videos that can be used for multiple applications. Keep in mind that these are expensive products and they come with advanced features, so you are going to need a high budget and an experience.
Buying guide: important features to consider
When it comes to drones for filming, there are some features that are more important than the others so they should be taken into account, if you are looking for a drone of this type. In general, the most important features are as follows:
Keep in mind that these drones are designed for filming, so the most important component is the camera. Look for drones that come with 4K cameras, due to the fact they offer the highest level of quality and your videos are going to have the best quality, so they are going to be used for any application you want.
Older drones have cameras with a lower resolution, so they are not a great choice if you are looking for perfection., On the other side, 4K cameras can record in an amazing quality, so all the videos are going to look amazing on your devices.
This factor is equally important simply because it defines the time your drone can stay in the air, which means that you will be able to record for a longer period of time. This is important simply because you will be able to make longer and better videos and you will be able to correct videos that are not perfect.
The best time you can get is about 30 minutes, but some, the latest drones may offer a longer flying time, so they should be taken into account as well.
The materials that have been used in the manufacturing process are important as well, simply because they can make a drone more durable and more resistant to damages and similar issues. As the end result, you will get a drone that can be used in different situations, and it will still offer the best quality of the videos.
The latest products are made from lightweight materials, so they can withstand amazing crashes and can be used in different situations. The units that have components made from carbon fiber are the best choice, simply due to the fact this material is very resistant and durable.
In the case of drones for filming, flying capabilities are more important than in other cases. You need a drone that offers a high level of maneuverability and can be used in different situations. For example, you will have to be able to use your device when the weather is bad, or when the flying conditions are problematic.
By getting a drone that can be used in any situation, you will be able to record videos in all situations, which is mandatory for filming.
Controller is probably one of the most important components of every drone, but it is something that most people don’t pay attention to. In this case, it is more important than ever, simply because your drone must be able to offer amazing and simple controls, in order to be able to make amazing videos.
Complicated devices are not a great choice, simply due to the fact the quality and the possibilities you will get are low, so your videos may be problematic as well.
Once again, this feature is more than just important, simply because it allows you to get the best quality of the videos, simply because you will be able to see exactly what are you recording. The end result will be amazing so you will get the best level of quality and you will be more than just satisfied with the videos you make.
A great addition is the fact that most drones of this type offer this feature as standard.
Not sure what model to buy?
As aforementioned, there are a lot of different models of this type, so choosing the best one is complicated. Luckily, we managed to create lists of pros and cons that are very important. The key is to get a drone that has a lot of benefits, or pros and very little cons or drawbacks.
By doing this, you will get the best drone for this application, so you will enjoy in professional videos and amazing flying capabilities.
- These drones are based on the latest technology
- They have amazing cameras
- The flying time is longer than with other drones
- Drones designed for filming are easy to fly and they offer interesting controls
- Live streaming is better than with other drones
- Maneuverability is a lot better when compared to other drones
- The materials, used in the manufacturing process are the best and the strongest
- The price of these drones is very high, mainly over $ 1,000.
- Some models still have short flying time and a high weight
- They are complicated to use, so you are going to need the great previous experience
The bottom line, when it comes to drones designed for filming is that they are a great choice if you are looking for the best way to record aerial videos from the sky. That’s why many drone hobbyists around the world adore them.
At the same time, these UAVs are often used by professional filmmakers for the special effects and great movie scenes. In the future, these drones are going to play a major role in most films!